June 6, 2010

God Rest their Souls

Mathew Halton of the CBC. Direct link.

A virtual tour of the Juno Beach Centre.

Thanks, Boys.

Posted by lance at June 6, 2010 9:19 AM

I hate to say it but these heroes souls walk restless knowing the freedom they fought to preserve has been traded off by an ungrateful generation who put the false promise of nanny state security ahead of individual and national freedom.

Posted by: Watcher at June 6, 2010 9:47 AM

It seems that for all the material improvements in our lives since that time, and all the "societal progress" that has been made, the mettle and worth of the average "Canadian" is far far less than the people who live a safe and comfortable bought with the lives of these Canadians.

Sometimes I despair for the future of not only this country, but the entire civilization that we have built

Posted by: old Lori at June 6, 2010 10:23 AM

Oh... and thank you. Thank you.

Posted by: old Lori at June 6, 2010 10:24 AM

Watcher and old Lori say it well.

Posted by: Ken (Kulak) at June 6, 2010 10:32 AM

Excellent comments. And, to all of those who fought that war, and on D-Day - thank you for our freedom.

Posted by: ET at June 6, 2010 10:40 AM

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.

Rather we should thank God that such men lived."

General George Patton

Posted by: Mr.G at June 6, 2010 10:58 AM

The Canadian contribution to the defeat of the Nazi regime in both Italy and NW Europe was one that far exceeded what could be expected from a population of just over 11 million.

Yet, we can seldom be found in the movies that document the great battles, unless they are produced by a Canadian.

If the world doesn't recognize the high price paid by our young men, then those of us who have benefited from their sacrifices must never forget.
There are few left, but if you know one or see one this week, thank him.

When I was introduced to a Canadian Battle of Britain pilot in the sixties, I automatically stood up and shook his hand. He wasn't embarrassed by my enthusiasm.

Posted by: gellen at June 6, 2010 11:21 AM

Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Posted by: Fred at June 6, 2010 11:41 AM

Gellen @ 11:21

check out the Dutch movie "The Black Book" made a couple of years back. It's in Dutch with subtitles although you will be surprised how much Dutch you will understand. The Dutch KNOW which army liberated them!

Posted by: Norm at June 6, 2010 1:36 PM

The Greatest Generation. These gallant young soldiers grew up in the Dirty Thirties, they were poor but they did not turn to crime, they volunteered to fight a war for the freedom of others in 1939 and they forged ahead without a revolt; against a formidable, fanatical foe, they came home in glory and victory and did not turn complacent or arrogant; then they built a prosperous nation and raised their families. If the Greatest Generation made one mistake it was one that was unintentional; they spoiled their kids and allowed themselves to be denigrated by their 'educated' over indulged kids who indulged in drugs, dirt, free 'love' and anti war rallies, turned pinko and squandered all the capital that the Greatest Generation earned for them through blood, sweat and tears. All hippy dippies who failed to thank the Greatest Generation should do so today, personally (if their Mom and Dad are still alive) or in prayer.

We should never ever forget the soldiers of valor and honor who fought for the Liberty of people they had never met.

Thank-you for posting this Kate, and for the links to old reports.

Posted by: Jema 54 at June 6, 2010 1:43 PM

Thanks for posting this lance and Kate.May you both live in peace ad happiness. And for the ones of us who have reached out and saw our friends and comrades touch the face of God, Per Ardua Ad Astra.

Posted by: Justthinkin at June 6, 2010 3:04 PM

We should all take a moment to think about the scale of what these men did. All across the Normandy coast, thousands of young British, American, Canadian, and other (Poles, Czechs, etc, who served with the Allied armies) waded ashore in chest-deep water, 100 pounds of gear strapped to them, under interlocking fields of fire from machine guns and artillery emplacements. So many of them were blown to pieces, nothing identifiable of them left behind except the legacy of what they accomplished. Their generation deserves the reverence we give it.

I would never want to diminish what they accomplished, but I do sincerely hope WWII does not prove to be a pyrrhic victory in the grand scheme of things. The civilization they fought to defend now seems to be on the cusp of oblivion, literally given away by the generation of ingrates who inherited their gift.

Posted by: KevinS at June 6, 2010 3:04 PM

Well said Jema 54 and KevinS.

Posted by: Mary at June 6, 2010 3:15 PM

It is interesting to note that during WW1---when the Germans adopted the "stormtrooper" tactics what they were doing was copying the Canadian methodology used to take Vimy Ridge.
It is also noteworthy that when Patton broke out of the D-Day beachhead to sweep west to capture Cherbourg (an Atlantic Port) he requested and recieved specific Allied units(all Canadian) for his enterprise.
Later he dismissed comments that he was primarilly interested in the fast Cromwell Tanks the Canadians used----his comment---"fast is good but the guys inside make the difference".
I still recall a veterans comments about aircraft....
When the Brits or Canadians came over the Germans ducked....
When the Luftwaffe came over the Allies ducked..
When the Americans came over....EVERYBODY ducked.
He said the Tyffies---(Typhons) were a great help but the American P47's were a menace.....

Posted by: sasquatch at June 6, 2010 3:32 PM

Agree, it was well said by Jema 54 and KevinS.

Thanks Kate and Lance for this.

Posted by: Ken (Kulak) at June 6, 2010 4:01 PM

My Dad went ashore commanding a squadron of 6 DD Sherman tanks with 1st Hussar's on the first assault wave.

His best buddy commanded the first group of 6 1st Hussar's 'B' squadron tanks to leave their LCT. Just as they received the command to move off, a German shell struck the left chain on the LCT ramp and his best friend drove off and sank. Several one after the other just drove off, tipped nose down and sank.

After they repaired the chain, my Dad's squad rolled off and began the 6000 yd swim in their 1st Hussars DD Shermans to the beach. Ultimately, of 19 tanks, of his 1st Hussar's 'B' Squadron, 15 made it to shore. On shore my father was hit in the chest by shrapnel. Fortunately the main impact was absorbed by his Ronson lighter in his breast pocket so he continued.

After clearing Courseulles-sur-Mer, The regiment made its way inland. South of Reviers, 'B' Squadron encountered a German 88 which knocked out six tanks before being put out of action. Seven Hussar crewmen were killed in the engagement.

On the afternoon of Sunday, 11 June, 'B' Squadron of the 1st Hussars was decimated during an abortive attack on the hamlet of Le Mesnil Patry, North-West of Caen. Panzergrenadiers, pioneers and tanks of the 12th SS Panzer Division were able to ambush the tanks of 'B' Squadron in part due to intelligence gleaned from the Hussar's own radio traffic after capturing wireless codes from a destroyed Canadian tank on 9 June. The German forces were able destroy 51 Shermans, and inflict 61 killed or missing, 2 wounded and 11 captured. The attack is remembered as the "Black Sabbath" within the Regiment. It accounted for roughly one third of the 1st Hussars' dead over the entire war.

Though he survived and was on a German airfield when the German's surrendered, he was never the same. He often woke up screaming in the middle of the night right up until he died at 84.

Posted by: RCGZ at June 6, 2010 4:13 PM

fitting that on this day, when we recall the greatness of a generation past, significant world events are shaping up that could very well mean we will once again be calling on resolute Canadians to beat back the mass murdering hordes.

""Iran's Revolutionary Guards naval forces are fully prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys to Gaza with all their powers and capabilities," Ali Shirazi, Khamenei's representative inside the Revolutionary Guards, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency."

This would mean war. If the Turkish President is in one of the boats, like he say he will be, that would mean NATO would be in the fight.

President feckless would need to do something besides vote "present"

Posted by: Fred at June 6, 2010 4:41 PM

God Bless Them.

Posted by: Curious at June 6, 2010 5:07 PM

I too thank these folks for their individual sacrifices to live free for themselves & others.

Lets not forget though their where as many appeasers during this generation as ours. No one believed Hitler anymore than they do Iran's dwarf.
Political leaders threw Czechoslovakia under the bus, to avoid war.
What made them the great generation was even in the face of economic crisis, social turmoil. Along with that generations myths.
They stood up to the evil when it became obvious even to the most timid. That it was war, or extermination of all Democracy.
People forget the Madras like Bunds, German spy's in Canada with all the pro Hitler propaganda you could stomach.
Of course always the reliable bully tactic of retribution to German families with relatives in Germany.
Through all this they stood firm against the enemy when finally recognized.
We owe them more than our lives. They left a legacy we can all learn from.
That period is not to far from our own. Will we stand & wake up like this generation, or will we lie still in an opium dream yearning for the progressive deranged Utopia Tale?

Posted by: Revnant Dream at June 6, 2010 5:15 PM

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Posted by: EyesWideShut at June 6, 2010 5:39 PM

God bless them, my generation fought for nothing and appear they aren't willing to fight for the freedoms of others in Afghanistan and other nations where the people are enslaved by Islam.

Posted by: rose at June 6, 2010 5:50 PM

"My Dad went ashore commanding a squadron of 6 DD Sherman tanks with 1st Hussar's on the first assault wave."

That is an amazing story RCGZ. I stand in awe of all those men who went forward, went forward when every fiber of their beings were telling them not to. It's hard to even imagine walking into a situation where you know there is the very real threat of death.

Those Duplex-Drive tanks were quite imaginative. There was a documentary on recently, where a marine archeologist recovered one from the Channel. As your story recounts, sadly many of those men drowned when their tanks were submerged.

My g-g-uncle was also a Sherman tanker. He was killed in action in the Sicily campaign. The local Veterans' post is named after him.

Posted by: KevinS at June 6, 2010 6:25 PM

This is one individual who is NOT a part of
an ungrateful generation who put the false promise of nanny state security ahead of individual and national freedom.
And I'm sure there are many more of us who feel the same way.

Posted by: atric at June 6, 2010 6:36 PM

I remember my high school history teacher, Brigadier John Wood, MBE, who landed with the Canadian Division, describing the awesome power of the battleships firing broadsides to soften up shore defenses in the early morning hours of the 6th. I'm grateful he came home. He kindled my interest in history.

My Dad was on convoy duty in the North Atlantic on D Day. It was another month and a half before he saw me for the first time.

It was a different time. Now treason is commonplace.

Posted by: Ham at June 6, 2010 6:52 PM

Amen. God rest their souls.

Posted by: Mark Peters at June 6, 2010 8:39 PM

I was twelve years old in Winnipeg on June 6 1944.
My best friend Danny Kidd and I used to play "war" with our "cap" guns that fired off rolls from our toy pistols.

Danny's father was enlisted in one of the Winnipeg Brigades that were sent by Canada to defend Hong Kong, the British protectorate in 1941.

I remember Danny was excused from class and him sobbing heartbroken because his father was killed in Hong Kong.
Over run by the Japanese, the survivors subsequently treated as slave labour and kept alive on starvation rations.

D-Day was meaningful in 1944 even to a twelve year old.

God Bless them.

By the way "old lori" posted @10:23, as Marilla Cuthbert told Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables "to despair is to turn your back on God"

Do not despair!

Posted by: Joe Molnar at June 6, 2010 8:41 PM

Thank you RCGZ. Touching story. We owe a GREAT debt to men like your father.

Posted by: Mark Peters at June 6, 2010 8:50 PM

And I just have to say: We could use a dozen or so Mathew Halton's today; the old-school journalists, giving the facts, dutifully and respectfully noting the loss of life but not obsessing on it and squeezing every ounce of politics out of it, calling for a retreat less the cost of victory be too great. One can even sense the patriotism in his voice, the moral clarity and magnitude of what was occurring.

My God... we've lost something in news reporting in this country!

Posted by: Mark Peters at June 6, 2010 8:58 PM

Many very fine comments here. They WERE the best generation, and I really miss them. It breaks my heart to see how in just one or two short generations, too many have taken their hard-won victory for granted and have squandered the freedoms they fought and won for their children, grand children and great-grand children.

Yes, G*d bless them all. My father and both grandfathers fought overseas, my father as a young man of 17. He lied about his age in order to enlist and never really got over what he experienced in Holland, though he never talked about it.

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord.
And may light perpetual shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.

Posted by: batb at June 6, 2010 9:31 PM

Amen batb.

Non Nobis Sed Patriae

Posted by: Ken (Kulak) at June 6, 2010 9:53 PM

Dr. Johnson said "Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been to sea." I know this feeling and I did entertain the possibility of joining the American forces and going to Viet Nam, though my dad disabused me of that idea. That said, our fathers and grandfathers did such a good job that a whole generation knew nothing but peace. We can't thank them enough.

Posted by: larben at June 6, 2010 10:44 PM

If an unwanted convoy loaded with political "heat" in the form of Turkish president, or whatever, took to sea, Israel would be in a tricky position, but not for long. They couldn't simply sink the ships.

However lets say the floatilla couldn't land, and unload, because the docks mysteriously, all of a sudden, went KABOOM!

No port, no landing.

Activist floating around in the hot sun, for a couple days,smelling each others armpits.

On CNN, and ALJizeerah.
Puts a smile on ones face.

This will be interesting.

Posted by: eastern paul at June 6, 2010 11:04 PM

Mark Peters: We do now have Matthew Fisher of Canwest News, currently in Afstan.


Posted by: Mark Collins at June 7, 2010 12:27 PM

Just Right - with Robert Metz & Robert Vaugh - Airs Live from the University of Western Ontario every Thursday from 11 am to noon on CHRW Radio, 94.9 FM (London, Ontario, CANADA)

Just Right-128-November 12, 2009

Forgettance Day - Forgetting The Causes Of War, While 'Remembering' Its Horrors. How And Why We Lost The First And Second World Wars. Sacrifice - Religion - Faith: The Roots Of War And The Enemies Of Freedom. Superstitious? You Won't Be For Long. The End Of The World Is Coming --- In 2012!

Posted by: Trevor at June 10, 2010 2:00 AM